Thursday, August 04, 2005

Terrorism as performance art...

... attempted murder as pantomime.

I wish I could say I was shocked at this defence offered by would-be suicide bomber Osman Hussain's Italian lawyer., but I'm not.

I'm a cynical bastard, you see, and only this past weekend I was holding forth to friends at a party that since no one had been injured in the attempted bombings, it was likely that the suspects would claim that it was all a misunderstood practical joke and that various apologists would argue on Newsnight that we're entering a new phase of witnessing terrorism as performanc art*.

(* Note: This could still happen!)

- Flour Power -

Hussain claims that his rucksack was filled with flour, not explosives. " It would have made a bang and scared people" reports The Independent. What's wrong with the tried-and-tested method of achieving that by dying your hair green and putting a safetly-pin through your nose?

But seriously, there is legitimate politically-motivated direct action which can "shock and scare" people in the best possible way and make a non-violent political point - just ask Peter Tatchell. Even if we believe Hussein's story, how is blowing up a potential pancake breakfast on your back and scaring the heebie-jeebies out of completely random strangers on a train - and then legging it like a frightened rabbit - making a coherent political point?

- A fair cop -

To add to this silliness, Hussain says "I'm scared of what I could suffer in jail there, I'm scared of having to spend the rest of my life in a cell."

What? Is he convinced the Italian police are a lighter touch than their British counterparts?


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